A few quick thoughts on Vine. Mostly positive.
Yes, I know I’m supposed to be posting a 6 second vine video instead of writing this. Well, I’ve made 20 or so none of them have been posted. I haven’t quite got my head around an approach, and cats and breakfast cereal are well covered.
The short form is not an issue. I remember thinking 12 seconds was a very long time after making a series of videos for a 12seconds.tv film festival when it was active. In fact, I ended up making micro 3 act structures, each 4 seconds long. I also curated and participated in early mobile video exhibitions where the videos were 15 seconds each. I just looped things to fill out the time. So 6 seconds is plenty.
One of the things I like the most about Vine being integrated directly within twitter is that is begins to compensate for the text centric nature of the platform.
I prefer to express myself publicly with image/sound first, then text. This has not been an easy thing to do with social media to date, and is partly why I’ve deleted well over half of my tweets almost immediately after publishing them (and partly why we made Undetweetable which collected deleted tweets).
This text-nervousness is compounded by being uncomfortable with the casualness of social media posts in the first place. With image/sound posts some of us may be able to express ourselves with less anxiety. (I often find the best response to something is an untranslatable gesture, sound or color). Then again, it may just create another kind of anxiety.
On Twitter there’s generally an expectation that things should make linear sense, because they are text and links and quotes. Of course they don’t have to (hence my 2010 ThroatOcean account). This is already the case with Vine in that certain visual conventions have become cliche’s which are contextual frames for making videos quickly digestible.
The obvious thing to do is time lapse, or some kind of time shifting, which usually emphasizes speed (or visual efficiency as Nathan Jurgensen recently called it) and there are a number of these at the top of the Vine selected favorites. But there are other ways to use Vine that are between the extremes of meticulous stop motion and a careless shaky six second video of whatever happens to be in front of you.
One of the first things I thought would be interesting is to try and give the illusion of stretching time, making it seem slow, much longer than 6 seconds. Or video only accounts, or days where only videos are posted in sequence. Or just sound. It will also be interesting to see how it’s used in breaking news events - and if anyone manages to create fake vines during such events.
Speaking of sound, it’s something having audio integrated into twitter, but it’s not much. It will have to mostly be voices and low resolution mid frequency sounds. As I’ve complained many times before, default audio recording and playback on mobile devices is far behind video. Sound in online video is often merely accidental.
Technically, what would be helpful is to be able to save the videos as a draft while in process, to be able to make the time shifts very long while making other videos in the meantime. Then again, having to finish the video before making another one can be considered part of the constraints, reminiscent of long sequences in Robert Rodriguez’s first film El Mariachi. Also, as the software stands now, it’s pretty hard to do.
Vine could provide an opportunity for a more visual twitter that’s different from Instagram or Tumblr and the tired, over fetishized history of animated gifs. I’ll resist it, bit most posts will be casual (which is often for the benefit of platform owners, not necessarily the users). On the positive side, Vine may open another door for visual signature and the performance of identity. Or it could be just cats and breakfast.